Thursday, June 11, 2009 ;
10:45 AM
Hmm, it's after the June 4 incident, Teck, Blogger still blocked, why?

Here are the latest updates:

1. May 27, Wed
My parents in law came to visit us. They brought a lot of food and other stuff from Singapore! Including mil's handmade dumpling. Yummy. My mom also passed them some stuff (like fried shallots) for me. Yay.

PIL kind of spent Thurs acclimatising and walking around the area.

2. May 29, Fri
I brought PIL to the kids' school for assembly and then the Kindy's Ocean Exhibition.
I loved the exhibition because all the kids' hard work culminated in the beautiful displays of their work - art, craft, poetry, written books, dioramas (models), games and reports on a wide array of topics on Ocean life.
That is their Unit of Inquiry for this term.

In keeping with the IB learner profiles, they have to "take action" and for this UOI, they decided to raise funds during this exhibtiion for this organisation that helps care for and save the sharks in the ocean by stopping nets that often kill a lot of wildlife.

The kids sold this idea during assembly as well, taking turns to tell the audience all about what they learnt about marine life, and how we can help care for the oceans and what to do to save them. They also talked about donating money for their cause.

During assembly, I think PIL were already not very impressed. They didn't say anything, but I could sense it.
I know where they are coming from. They feel the fees are expensive yet the performances not of a very high standard. But most of these kids are doing stuff that are not rehearsed. Basically anyone who wants to perform can get on stage and do their thing here. It is unlike what my PIL are used to, well-rehearsed acts in the Singapore schools.

Furthermore, just so happened, this assembly, there were far more modern dancing, singing to pop songs and stuff my PIL do not enjoy. But I did admire the girls' courage and some of them really dance and sing very well.

After that, we moved on to the classroom for the exhibition. ds1 showed them around eagerly. He also sat us down to play his Deep Sea Habitat board and card game that he made. It was interesting, some pics are on FB.

We had a parent tea, mingled around a bit, and then I donated some money. PIL did too. But fil later commented that there are so many humans who are starving and need help, why donate money to save the sharks. (The Exhibition reminded us not to consume sharks' fins, yet sharks' fins happened to be my fil's favourite.) Err, I wanted to explain that this UOI is about the Ocean. But I held my tongue.

When ds1 got home from school, PIL talked to ds1 about humans and our needs coming first before the sharks'. Oops... But ds1 didn't seem to let anything get into his head as usual...

After the exhibition, I brought PIL to ds2's classroom. The teachers kindly let us join in the current activities. The kids happen to have outdoor playtime, so ds2 was running around barefooted, playing with sand, riding his tricycle, etc. FIL asked, "They just play the whole day?"

So I directed ds2 to the painting table, and urged him to do some painting. Great, he took my cue, and started painting with few other kids. All the kids painted in almost the same way, take the brushes, dap them in paint, make some strokes on the paper, then use the squeeze bottles with paint and squeeze different patterns on the paper.

FIL commented that the kids are wasting resources (because of course the kids anyhow paint). And he asked ds2 to stop his painting and let another girl who was waiting her turn paint instead. MIL chided him, saying he should let ds2 finish his painting. To compromise, I got ds2 to finish up with his paper on the ground.

I thought probably that was enough. Because if I show them more, maybe their impression would go lower and lower and then end up scolding Dh for enrolling the kids in such a school. Dh's thinking and theirs being different is a totally separate matter.

So we were about to catch a cab home when ds1's classmate's mom gave us a lift home. Her hubby is German yet speaks fluent Mandarin. PIL were very impressed with him. Ok, so at least I didn't waste their entire morning. hee.

Btw, the first week they were in town, I did most of the cooking. I did realise however, that fil will not say anything during dinner, and just pick on maybe just 1 dish. There were some dishes he obviously didn't like nor would he try. So when we went to the market, I let them pick what they wanted and let mil cook in the 2nd week. I think fil ate a lot more after that.

And I think they were very bored with Tianjin. They arrived on Wed, and on Fri, mil told me that fil asked her to bring forward their flight home, because he was in a hurry to get back to Singapore. But we have no choice since Dh happened to be super busy this week due to the Beijing Expo and the kids still have school, so I was tied down with their dismissal times and cannot bring them to further places.

They were also very bored in our house. FIL asked for the TV remote and they flipped through all the channels and couldn't find anything nice to watch. They said they missed the Chinese serials back home. They always watch the 7pm and 9pm shows and then the 10pm Chinese News.

I tried to talk to them. But apart from topics surrounding the kids and Dh, we found little in common elsewhere.

So I brought a lot of Chinese books out for them to read. They did immerse themselves in reading for the rest of Friday.


3. May 30, Sat
The morning was spent preparing food for Mr G's birthday party in the evening. He invited Dh and me on his birthday boat cruise and asked everyone to bring food and drink.
Then at 11am, church friends came to our house with American visitors. We had a pizza and dumplings lunch, then watched some DCI championship bands (cos our American guest loved it and he used to play in a band), and played board games.

When ds1's drum teacher arrived (2pm), ds1 cried! He didn't want to have lessons when he was having so much fun! So, embarrassingly, all our guests left abruptly so that ds1 could calm down. After talking to him for a while, he did, and then continued with his drum lessons. The funny thing was, while I was consoling and talking to ds1, ds2 went to the drum teacher and played the drums for the teacher to see. ds2 enjoyed "performing" indeed.

I then had to force ds2 to nap.

After that, I continued preparing the bacon rolled asparagus. MIL helped me immensely. I made the Peach Konnyaku Jelly too. And we packed an ice cold big bottle of apple juice.

Then I dressed up and got ready. We left the house and took a cab to CF. Got the kids settled in their art class, with mil accompanying ds2.

Then finally Dh arrived to meet up with me and we left for the birthday party.

PIL will babysit kids for us, hooray.

The cruise along Tianjin's historic and famed Haihe River was romantic indeed. Because it was dark, no one could see the filth in the river. We could admire the pretty lights of the city, enjoy the breeze, lovely music and chat with everyone. Since the birthday boy and girl are both teachers in the school, the guests were mostly from the school. So we also met with ds1's many teachers, and the director of the school, amongst others.

Mr G is the school's secondary school music teacher and got close to Dh because Dh helped out regularly with the school's many musical performances. That's why we were invited.

There were few meat dishes, so my bacon and asparagus got wiped out very early. There were too many desserts, so there was jelly left over for me to bring home.

The director came to chat with us for some time, telling us the history of Tianjin, because he has been here for 12 years already!

The cruise took about 2hrs, and after that we caught a cab home. The kids were still up and very energetic. Glad they all had a good time.

4. May 31, Sun
After morning worship (our own family cos the CHinese brethren all had to work to make up for the Duanwu Jie holiday on Thursday, Fri and Sat), we brought PIL to Han Luo Yuan for lunch then to Gu Wen Hua Jie (Cultural Street) for a walk. I think they appreciated this because it is more about culture and history.

Pictures on FB. Kids had candy praying mantis made there. It was fun.

5. June 1, Mon
It is China's Children's Day. All schools have holiday on this day. But the kids' school doesn't. ds1 however, skipped school because he complained of a serious toothache. In fact, he cried so badly that I thought it was very serious and brought him to a dentist H recommended to have it checked.
He had an X-ray done and the dentist could not see any decay, thus she diagnosed his nerves as having an infection and she needed to "kill his nerves" so he wouldn't feel the pain anymore.

I wasn't thinking very well and couldn't understand what she was saying as all the medical terms and technical stuff are in Chinese. So ok.. But ds1 screamed in pain when she started drilling, so she suggested a shot of anaesthesia. Both my PIL were also there, so I just agreed dumbly. So ds1 had 2 jabs, which were also painful and he was crying by then.

He absolutely refused anymore treatment even though we explained that the shot will numb him and so it wouldn't be painful anymore.

However, he totally refused having anyone or thing touching his mouth or teeth anymore. What about the hole already drilled? The dentist said to put some stuff on it which I didn't understand also. No choice, ok...

After we returned home, ds1 still complained of pain. So i checked his mouth and saw 7 canker sores (ulcers). All near the part where he complained of a toothache.

I double checked if the sores were already there when he went to the dentist or did the dental tools cause them? He said he didn't know but it's very painful.

You know what, after that day, his teeth were no longer painful! I suspect that maybe it was the sores that was painful in the morning causing him to cry "toothache", so he got the jabs and drilled hole for nothing, and I paid so much money for nothing!

Worse still, later the clinic called and insisted that he had to get the white powder out from his tooth because it is a ShiHuoJi, which is bad for the body if left inside for more than 4 days. Huh???

No choice, we had to return on a Sat (thanks to H who accompanied us), and take out the powder, and ds1 was so traumatised.

Now thinking back, I think it was because my in laws brought a lot of peanuts and all ds1 ate on Sat was peanuts and rice. He refused to eat any veg or fruits. Therefore, the sores must have developed on Sun and reared the ugly heads on Mon morning, causing a lot of pain to ds1 on Mon morning. It was not a toothache, and ds1 did not have tooth decay or anything, since he has not complained of his teeth aching anymore since!

Normally, if my in laws were not around, I think I would have let ds1 cry it out on Mon morning and adopt a wait-and-see attitude. But because they were around, I felt I needed to do my duty as a mom, and they having a big heartache, I felt I needed to solve it quickly.

Thus my decision to quickly bring him to a dentist. Argh!!! And I can only blame myself for agreeing to everything the dentist said, even though I didn't understand her! That was a terrible decision.

So now, ds1 has a gaping drilled hole in a perfectly otherwise good molar. Man!


6. June 2, Tues
My birthday...
I got a lot of emails, smses and FB msgs, thank you everyone for your wishes. Nice being remembered even though I am so far away!
Then 2 of my neighbours did unexpected things, surprising me and moving me almost to tears.
H baked egg tarts for me. She already gave me 2 treats. Once on Mon and another on Tues, both to lunch at Mr Pizza. So it was totally unexpected.
Then in the evening, when in laws and us were at the nearby restaurant for dinner, N turned up with a Paris Baguette cake!

In the morning, Dh had taken leave to show his parents around his factory and then around that area in town. In the afternoon, he brought them back for their nap, and then went out with me. We went window-shopping for a short while then sat and relaxed at UBC. It wasn't our choice though. We would've picked Starbucks anytime, but there was only a UBC in that vicinity. UBC flourishes here, sprouting up everywhere, but we don't find the coffee nor the snacks nice at all. The decor may be lavish but then they allow smoking in there, so it is suffocating.

After we reached home, my in laws treated me (and our whole family) to dinner at the nearby Fei Cui.

Then we went home and cut the cake N gave.

It was such an enjoyable day.

7. On Wed and Thurs, my in laws decided to go out on their own to explore. They went to Beijing on one day and then to buy electrical parts on another. Fil is a workaholic, as mil says. He will think of his work wherever he goes. Even on holiday, he will try to source out stuff for his factory back home.

So I was left with my normal routine, and it was a good breather. My in laws are nice people, basically. But having them around naturally meant I'd try hard to make them comfortable and please them.

But apparently what they think is rather different from me and Dh, so very often, I stress myself up trying to guess what they would like and be happy with. Often turns out different from what I think.

But I did hit jackpot with the white carrot, pork rib soup early that week, so I cooked another big pot on Thurs again. They said the white carrot is very fresh and yummy here. There's 口感 and that the soup had a very good taste. So I guess that's a winner, and being so uncreative, I just kept buying the same stuff that they liked and cooking that. They also liked the asparagus a lot because it is in season here now and very fresh. Just need to stir fry without any other condiments or side veg/ meat, and it tasted very good on its own. So I kept buying that too.

And tofu. The kids like the tofu, and so did my in laws, I found out. So that was easy. I kept buying that, bought all these stuff at least 3x in the 10 days they were here. Don't know if I went overboard. Maybe they're thinking they can't wait to get back to spore to eat some variety of food now.

haha.

8. June 5, Fri
After school, ds1 had art class at home, then we all headed to N's house. She invited us over for dinner, in honour of my in laws.
We had a fabulous bento- lots of yummy Jap food, with fried chicken, edamame salad, plenty of sushi, a bowl of Udon soup... We were so stuffed.
We had one big bento to bring back to Dh as well. He was performing at the school's Graduation ceremony at the Nikko Hotel so he couldn't come.
The kids had a swell time playing together.

N's really a great host.
When she heard my PIL and I haven't tried the famous BaiJiMoBing and Tianjin's Haixie (crab), she asked us back for lunch again the next day!


9. June 6, Sat
We went over to N's house for lunch. Z was there with her dd too. So we all had another yummy lunch. I didn't fancy the BaiJiMoBing so much (like a Chinese hamburger) but the crab was really fresh. It was purely steamed and had such a sweet taste. This type of crab can only be steamed. Cannot be cooked in the chilli crab or black pepper crab style.

After lunch, we had a good chat, and the kids had a pirate treasure hunt. It was planned by N and executed by her new maid from Philippines. Her new helper doesn't do as good a job as the old one from Anhui, imho. She can't handle the kids very well.

First Matt cried, then Sof cried and then later on, ds1 cried. ds1 cried so badly (over a cut on his hand, very minor one, so we suspect it was more than that), that Dh took him home. Since my in laws wanted to take their daily afternoon nap too, they all went home first. I stayed back to chat because ds2 still wanted to play.

In the end, ds2, the most happy-go-lucky one, enjoyed the most. The older ones were all competitive and wanted to get the treasure, and get the most of it.
(We suspect ds1 cried cos they were competing and maybe he was on the losing end. He often gets more upset over such things than a small cut)

ds2 only cried when I told him it was time to go home! haha.

After a short rest, we set off for their art class at CF.

This was the first session when ds2's teacher said the kids needed to be in class alone, without parents, so they can transit to the next level independently for next term (summer term). I thought it was a great idea, yay, finally no need to sit in with him!

The other parents were glued to the glass window, and the tiny glass panel in the door. We were curious so we took a short peek. ds2's mouth kept moving, I think he was singing a song while drawing. He was very on task and enjoying himself a lot. Great! No language barrier! That was my only worry.

After that, we headed to Din Tai Fung for dinner. This time, thanks to N, we got a VIP room and even a free basket of steamed longevity peach baozi. It has bean paste within, very yummy.


10. June 7, Sun

We had morning service with the brethren. As usual, Dh spoke. MIL was busy packing and Fil sat afar off and listened to a bit of Dh's lesson. Dh later told me his dad kept having a smirk on his face and a cynical look.

Anyway, the brethren left in a hurry after they knew PIL are leaving soon.

Then we had a simple homecooked meal together, before sending them off. We walked them to the cabs outside and the kids gave their grandparents a hug before they left.

I gave MIL a set of photos which I printed out. Those were taken when they were here, mostly with the kids.


11. June 10, Wed, 6pm

The Elementary school had their spring show. I know it should be summer already but perhaps the Spring Show got postponed!

The elementary school teacher choreographed it. It's a musical set to Camille Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals. Every class put up one act (one piece in the Carnival collection). Kindy kids were the "Animals with Long Ear" so they got to Hee-Haw a lot.

Other classes did the Lions, Tortoises, Fish, etc. A Ballet group of girls danced to the Swan.

Nursery kids kicked off the Carnival with their music band. It was fun, and funny. Some of the costumes were really nice. I like it that costumes are provided by the school here. If it were bulky costumes that my kids would never again have the chance to wear, I don't like it if the school makes me pay for it. So what if I can bring it home?

I hear from a lot of parents back home that now preschools, kindys and childcares have very big acts and performances. They charge a high fee for the concert tix, high fee for costumes, high fee for the DVD of the concert footage later as well. And the concert venues used to be in CCs long ago (in my time) but has evolved to more and more 'atas' venues nowadays. And they seem to be making a lot of money, because for each child, there would be the parents, siblings, grandparents, uncles and aunts who would buy tix to support them, and then later the DVD as well.

I wonder if that'll happen to both boys when we go back.

Anyway, Video and pics on FB.

It ended at 8pm. We got a ride from N's driver to the school, and going back, got a ride from Yk's mom too. How nice.

Friday will be the last day of school. We've written thank you cards to all the teachers and principals already. Hope the kids enjoy themselves.


rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow
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